My Wife and I apologize to anyone we have snubbed or ignored this past year while our world was spinning a bit out-ta control. Apparently while we were hunkering down dealing with our crap-storm, we missed some of your births, funerals and a bunch of other things that happen in between. Also, apparently during that time, we became the only home cooks in the developed world that have not yet purchased an Instant Pot crockpot.
When I first heard about these Instant Pot mega-fast slow-cookers, all I could think of was what other wacky oxymorons I could cook in it like jumbo shrimp, hot chili, boneless ribs or vegetarian meatballs.
Is this something I need? Should I be joining one of the many Instant Pot cults that seem to have popped up over the past few months? There are all manner of Instant Pot cookbooks, on-line groups and forums each sharing tips, recipes and about a zillion foodie photos of quickly-cooked unconventual creations. Have I missed the wave on this one? Because I was ahead of the curve on the Neti Pot trend a few years back… but that’s a very different kind of pot that I’m definitely not keen on sharing pics of my unconventual creations with that one.
So I wonder, is the Instant Pot so amazing that I will be labeled an out-of-touch behind-the-times geezer the next potluck party I show up to carrying my old traditional crockpot? Or is it a lame product with good marketing like the Popeil Pocket Fisherman, the Potty Putter or the Flowbee hair cutting vacuum. I mean, I do not want to be like my 90-year-old Dad; we recently had to finally take his car keys but since he won’t use a smartphone he can’t just take Uber. Is my old crockpot the same as my Dad’s flip phone that is not even set up for texting?
More importantly, should I care? I’ve never been a bandwagon guy so should I just sit out the Instant Pot mania and wait around long enough, like I did with my record albums and turntable, whereby doing absolutely nothing for a couple of decades I suddenly became cutting edge hip and cool for using old-school technology? I could also wait for the rotary phone to come back too. I’d say I should write an app that converts my smartphone screen to look like a rotary phone but I assume that someone has already beat me to that.
But is all this Instant Pot inspired keeping up with the Joneses, Zuckerbergs and Popeils really worth it? I’ve always been very unhappy with myself when I realize my motivation for doing something is based on what others think. Its easy to trip into that pit but I am hoping some of the crummy stuff I have had to deal with the past few months has helped refocus my perspective and priorities.
My wife obviously has had her good and bad days dealing with the recent passing of her mother. This past weekend was particularly rough while we worked on getting her Mom’s taxes done. You have no doubt heard the saying that ‘ in life the only two things you can be sure of is death and taxes’ but it would be nice if you did not have to worry about the later after the first happens. As my wife answered Turbo Tax’s difficult depressing questions, I quietly sat on the floor feebly assisting by wading through the last important box of my Mother-In-law’s notes, receipts and paperwork.
The hardest was the increasingly difficult to read handwritten scribbles my wife had saved from inside numerous half-started pads and notebooks. Mixed in the to-do lists and financial info were repeated personal reminders to herself of who important loved ones were and what occupations they had. She obviously was trying to hold onto basic information that Alzheimer’s had been slowly stealing from her. I sat there trying not to let my wife see that I was getting upset as I looked up totals and numbers for her. Undoubtedly she has a much heavier heart than me on this one and she does not need me setting her off on a spiral of wallow.
I seem to be at a place in my life where I am constantly dealing with the realities of terminal illness, life and death a lot. It feels like it is surrounding me and I see no end in sight. I don’t think fads and crazes, Instant Pots and parties mean a whole lot to me right now. But I am trying to find a balance. But this might not be something I can whip up in an Instant Pot. This might take some time. I just hope I don’t turn into that old Andy Warhol oxymoron “I am a deeply superficial person.”